Kingsbridge’s hedgehog heavens open their doors

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Hedgehog in Kingsbridge Garden

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Over 20 private and community gardens in Kingsbridge opened their doors to the public last weekend in aid of local charities including St Luke’s Hospice and Kingsbridge Community Garden. From tucked away cottage gems to lovingly tended urban oases to some extraordinary community spaces, a tour of these open gardens made for a great adventure for gardeners, urban explorers and wildlife enthusiasts combined.

Very much in evidence was all the hard work put in by the many volunteers who look after what was number one on the itinerary - Kingsbridge’s Community Garden. Now completely self-funded, this enchanting organic garden which includes a pond, beehives and willow arbour, occupies a secluded terraced site tucked in behind the Tresillian pre-school near the top of Fore Street ...

The garden is open pretty much all year round and much loved by visitors and wildlife alike. You are welcome to just come to sit and enjoy the solitude, pick any fruit and vegetables in season for a donation, or offer your services as a volunteer. For more information see their website www.kingsbridgegarden.co.uk.

Located down an alleyway opposite St Edmund’s church you will find the new Wistaria Place allotment, a delightful walled vegetable garden rescued from dereliction just over a year ago by a group of intrepid local residents who could see its potential. Not deterred by waist-high ivy and weeds and the broken bricks and bottles which had to be cleared before planting could begin, the allotment group has worked wonders to transform the area into the lovely space it is today.

But the group are not the only ones to appreciate this newly-created haven.

Thanks to a little doorway cut into the entrance gate, the project is now host to a family of hedgehogs which took up residence just before the Open Gardens event! Hedgehogs can roam up to three miles in a night in search of the beetles, earthworms and caterpillars which make up their staple diet. If you want to encourage and support them in your garden, ensure they have good access via holes and ramps, create hiding places from leaves, compost heaps and log piles, and provide safe, low-level water.

Feel inspired to find out more? After nursing a hedgehog back to health over the summer, Clive Harris was moved to write a definitive guide on how to look after them. Gardening expert and writer Clive states that hedgehog numbers have plummeted by a third since 2000 and is now their number one fan. 'I wanted to help spread the word about these little guys and hopefully the guide will generate a bit of awareness and teach people how to help if they stumble into your garden.' You can read Clive's article here.

For more information about hedgehog conservation, you can also see www.hedgehogstreet.org or www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk.

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